Tybee Island beach open after two water spouts formed - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tybee Island beach open after two water spouts formed

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The beaches are crowded again after at least two waterspouts were spotted off the coast of Tybee Island on Friday morning, causing Ocean Rescue to close the beach for a short period.

For three hours on Friday morning, tourists waited for the storm to pass.

"Sirens started going on," said tourist Sarah Webb. "And we didn't know what was going on."

Webb and her mom snapped pictures, capturing two waterspouts that popped off the shores of Tybee.

"We noticed people were taking pictures to the left of the pier," said Webb. "I've never seen one personally, so it was really cool. I called my friend and I was like yo."

Just after 10 a.m. Tybee Ocean Rescue raised double red flags, closing the waters and then eventually closing the beach completely for almost three hours until the storm passed.

"You're the tallest thing out there on the beach, so that's the biggest point to us," said Tybee Ocean Rescue Capt. Mike Taylor. "If you can hear thunder, then lightning can hit you, so we don't want to put you in that position. Our goal is life safety."

With recent reports of more than a dozen people struck by lightning in the waters off of Southern California, Tybee Ocean Rescue said they're not taking any chances.

"It's better for us to go ahead and move you out of that area and get you out of that problem, then to leave you out there," said Taylor. "To have something go on for all of us have to respond."

The beach officially reopened around 1 p.m.

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